In the year and a bit since the G-Cloud was launched the government has made great overtures about the fact it would open up the exciting world of government IT procurement to small and medium-sized firms.
This is a lofty ideal and an important one, as for too long the big firms have had a complete monopoly on those making the buying decisions in the public sector, possibly because everyone is so scared of making a screw up they stick with the tried and trusted suppliers.
Nothing wrong with that per se, but when you’re trying to overhaul government IT for the modern age while driving down costs, the ability to turn to small, nimble and cheap, companies is important, and helps to energise digital services within government.
However, while the G-Cloud was meant to address this issue and give IT buyers the chance to purchase services with confidence, it appears there is a long way to go to change the mindset of the public sector.
Data from the Cabinet Office unearthed by V3 shows that of the £4m spend on the G-Cloud in April, one third went to the most iconic of giant IT companies, IBM, which secured deals totaling £1.3m.
The Home Office was the one signing off the deals, and it must pain Cabinet Officer minister Francis Maude – who admits the service is ‘underused’ – that his colleagues down the road are ignoring the pleas to embrace SMEs and are instead sticking with the old monopoly suppliers like Big Blue.
It’s not IBM’s fault, and it may well be that its services were best suited to the government's needs, but it doesn’t paint a very welcoming picture for small firms trying to boost their balance sheets when they see US giants hoovering up major contracts yet again.
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